Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 1°C Thursday 22 April 2021

'It really is one of the all-time careers': Shane Horgan sums up Gordon D'Arcy's legacy

Shane Horgan says D’Arcy has nothing left to prove.

Horgan and D'Arcy celebrating their Heineken Cup win in 2009
Horgan and D'Arcy celebrating their Heineken Cup win in 2009
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

GORDON D’ARCY WILL play out the final months of his career with Leinster after failing to make Joe Schmidt’s 31-man World Cup squad, but his former provincial and international teammate Shane Horgan says it won’t tarnish his legacy.

D’Arcy is due to retire in October after a career that included 82 Irish caps, two Six Nations titles, three Heineken Cups, an Amlin Challenge Cup and four Pro12/Celtic League titles.

Despite losing his place for the 2015 Six Nations triumph and missing out on a fourth World Cup, his former teammate for both province and country, Shane Horgan, says he has nothing left to prove in Irish rugby.

“He’s had a remarkable career. This isn’t even going to be a footnote on a remarkable career.

“He’s the longest serving Irish rugby player. He overtook Mike Gibson which is really remarkable and shows where you put him in the pantheon of Irish rugby greats and I think that’s what he is,” he says.

“He’s always suffered a little from being next to the greatest of all time, but I think if you’ve played with him it’s very obvious how important he was to a side.

“His tackling was incredible, for not a huge man. He also had terrific footwork,” he adds

Gordon D'Arcy and Shane Horgan Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Horgan says that the Wexford centre’s career renaissance in 2004 is a testament to his professionalism.

D’Arcy had been fast-tracked into the Irish side as a 19-year-old, appearing against Romania in the 1999 World Cup, but would go on to win just four more caps over the next three-and-a-half years.

However, it was an injury to Brian O’Driscoll that ultimately made way for his return to the side, before he went on to win the Player of the Tournament at the 2004 Six Nations, with he and O’Driscoll forming an almost unbreakable partnership over the next 10 years.

“I think what’s important about Gordon D’Arcy’s story is the work he then took after having missed out on the World Cup in 2003, the work and professional he became for the rest of those years until finally being able to finish up at the age that he is now.

“It really is one of the all-time careers, and he’ll be remembered as one of the all-time greats.”

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

Gordon D'Arcy and Catalin Draguceanu 15/10/1999 A 19-year-old Gordon D'Arcy makes his debut against Romania in 1999. Source: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

However, with another warm-up game still to play, D’Arcy’s chances of another World Cup appearance aren’t gone just yet.

Irish fans will be hoping their squad comes through the trip to Twickenham unscathed after a series of high profile injuries in previous campaigns.

In 2003, Geordan Murphy devastatingly broke his leg while in the form of his life in the warm-up against Scotland, while Felix Jones and David Wallace both missed the last tournament after injuries.

England have picked a near full-strength starting line-up, and Horgan expects Ireland to do likewise. However, he can see both sides holding something back ahead of the tournament’s kickoff two weeks later.

“England have picked a very strong side, I’ve no doubt that Ireland will pick a strong side as well, but I also think that the sort of rugby we’re going to see; nobody’s going to be showing their hand.”

Key to England’s chances  - both on Saturday and in the tournament – will be George Ford and Ben Youngs.

The pair linked up well during the Six Nations campaign, and Horgan believes they’re the best combination England have had in some time.

“George Ford is a real quality player, he plays sop flat to the line, and challenges that area around the 10/12 channel, and he also has the ability to move the ball wide.

“Probably the best half backs that England have had in quite a while.

“It’s probably more important for England to win it.”

Sky Sports shows live rugby every month of the year including England v Ireland this Saturday at 2.30pm.

 ‘That’s two or three individuals with massive amounts of money to spend’

120kg Adam Jones teaches you how to tackle someone through a sheet of glass

About the author:

Neil Treacy

Read next: